Anchors and Sunsets: A Magical Getaway from Cancer

September 12, 2020

We arrived in a remote region of Long Island just in time to sit back on the deck overlooking the bay and catch a magical, breathtaking sunset. Five years of struggling through cancer, we’d damn well earned this moment.

After almost a year without travel, cooped up in our one-bedroom Manhattan apartment and warding off COVID-19 like the bubonic plague, my wife, Kori, and I were gifted a massive upgrade in scenery heading into Labor Day weekend.

Everything just sort of fell into place. A friend traveling out of town offered her house in the charming, remote North Fork region of Long Island. Then my parents chipped in, lending us their car. And just like that, we were off and running. Stumbling upon a well needed getaway.

The first night set the tone right away. We’d arrived just in time to sit back on the deck overlooking the bay and catch a magical, breathtaking sunset. “Cheers,” we said, smiling and clinking our wine glasses. Five years of struggling through cancer, we’d damn well earned this moment.

Meanwhile, we hadn’t really seen people since the pandemic. Kori and I have kept ultra conservative, refusing to venture out much because of my health issues. But now, with a larger, more controlled environment to work with, we were able to host family with less risk.

And oh man, did it feel great to reconnect! To finally hang out in person, interacting with actual human life after so much isolation. We caught up, bantered away for hours and took advantage of local wine, produce, and seafood.

Then came the heavier stuff. The heart to hearts, talks of future plans and what not.

You see, things are changing … There’d already been discussion of my parents and sister all relocating, so when the topic came up it wasn’t breaking news, but for a guy who’s gotten used to, and frankly, relied on having family within earshot distance, it’s been a lot to process.

As a cancer fighter, my family has been my anchor; one of few stable forces amid endless chaos. On the other hand, I never want to be their anchor, in the sense of holding them in place.

Generally speaking, I imagine that when you’ve acted as caretaker for someone you love, it’s difficult to leave them; that just the thought might bring on feelings of guilt. That’s what happens when you’re a good person. But we’ve all got to live our own lives and not make decisions for anyone else. And in this case, while any changes will call for an adjustment period, Kori and I are used to taking things one day at a time and figuring out how to best play our cards along the way.

Eventually, the deck just gets reshuffled.

For now, we soaked up the time we had together. Made the memories. Got it all in. There will be new opportunities and experiences unfolding down the line, I’m sure of it. Change is part of the game and adapting is well worth the effort, because if there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, it’s that life is most fun when you get to share it with others.

Well, that and when a friend unexpectedly gifts you a dream house in the North Fork.


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